• Kristin Thompson

Riverboat Fantasy



In areas of B.C. and Alberta not yet accessed by road or rail, boats were the primary form of transportation for large amounts of freight or passengers since the days of the fur trade. However, paddle-wheeler boats could travel in shallow rivers and access settlements without proper docks.

The S.S. Moyie was one such boat. Built in 1898, she was intended to transport miners to the Klondike gold rush, however she was instead used on Kootenay Lake to ferry passengers from Kootenay Landing to Nelson B.C.. In 1957, she was North America’s oldest sternwheeler still in service, and was retired and sold to the city of Kaslo, B.C. where she was made into a museum.

In 1965, Heritage Park in Calgary commissioned the building of a half-size replica of the S.S. Moyie, as an addition to their grounds.

So, what does this little history lesson have to do with Kristian Electric? Well, I’ll tell you. In 1965, when Heritage Park built their replica, guess who wired it? That’s right! KEL, or more specifically Kris Gjertsen, our company founder, along with his apprentice.

Since its maiden voyage on the Glenmore Reservoir in 1965, the S.S. Moyie replica paddle-wheeler has been one of Heritage Park’s main attractions and has estimated to have carried around two million passengers in its life thus far. Considering that Heritage Park is one of Canada’s largest historical villages, it’s wonderful to know that we are a part of this history.